The Police have shut down what would have been China’s first gay pageant just an hour before it was to start Friday, the event’s organizer said.
The Mr. Gay China pageant, featuring a fashion show and a host in drag, was set to take place in an upscale nightclub in Beijing, but police arrived and said it could not take place, Ben Zhang said.
“They said the content, meaning homosexuality, there’s nothing wrong with that, but you did not do things according to procedures,” Zhang said.
He said police told him he needed official approval for events that included performances, in this case a stage show.
Chinese police frequently cite procedural reasons for closing down gatherings deemed politically sensitive, and authorities have harassed gays in the past. Homosexuality remains a sensitive topic and gays struggle to be accepted by mainstream society.
“I feel really sad. This was going to be a very good event to show a positive image of gay people,” said Wei Xiaogang, a judge at the event and host of Queer Comrades, a popular Internet talk-show on gay issues.
Organizers and contestants said they were not surprised the show was canceled, though the order came quite suddenly.
“Yesterday we were here rehearsing until after midnight and there were no problems and no one came to give us any kind of warning,” said contestant Emilio Liu, 26.
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